The Life and Times of the Future Sound of London, pt. 5

I’ve listened to so much FSOL in the last two days that I may take a break from this project to review something else…

Artist: The Future Sound of London

Title: Cascade

Released: 1993 (reissue on CD in the US in 1996)

Label:  Virgin (UK), Astralwerks (US)

Format: CD, 12” vinyl

Genre: IDM, ambient

Roughly five months before the massive “Lifeforms” album was released, the Cascade single made its way to the public.  This was fairly different from their earlier release by a grand margin, to say the least.  It is far more ambient despite a healthy  bit of beats on some tracks.

The single is more like a mini-album in that it takes several different approaches to the title track, as if the release was one giant, seamless mix, where every so often, we would dive down a different path.  To put it simply, five different versions of this track appear but are sewn together like a quilt. 

Some of these tracks are quite enjoyable and are wildly different from what eventually wound up on the LP.  The beats were light and the synth pads (acid and otherwise) created an ambient aura that remains unique in this form.  Though, things tend to be slightly repetitive to the extent that some tracks lack enough variety to be called “different” and I am left feeling that they are really just extended mixes rather than remixes or alternate versions.  Track two sounds remarkably like track one, and it honestly could have just been one massive track rather than two.

As we head into the third track, things take a dull turn.  We get this obnoxious ambulance siren and a classical piano sample that just never seems to end, even if it honestly only lasts a minute or two at the most.  This is my least favorite segment of the single.  It’s pretty boring.  Did I say a minute or two?  Try four minutes. 

Part four, despite offering similar elements from the first two songs, begins to expose some new interpretations.  The beat is a bit on the dub side, but we get some stronger acid synth rather than the slower, drearier junk from the third piece.  This works better for me.  Track five opens with some strange inverted vocal samples before launching into by far, the most dynamic of the interpretations.  The synth goes off in a new direction; the beats remain similar but the rest of the elements get reconstructed in a way that I don’t mind.  This is my personal favorite on this release.  And track six is merely a radio edit, of sorts, of the first track. 

Should you buy this?  I wouldn’t say this is a must-have disc due to the lack of variance.  If you really like the album version of this track, you’re not really going to find it here, but you may still enjoy it.  Prices are still fairly low for used copies.

3 out of 5.

I have no idea what my next post will be… I need a break!


About Nick H.

I'm a geek for music whether it be on vinyl, CD, 78 or whatever. My goal is to sniff out the greated music on Earth, specializing in the obscure. I make music myself as well, mostly ambient and sound collage (1 album out and a few remixes so far). I work full time as a professional mascot (it pays the pills) but will soon retire, i hope.
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